Katie's blog: On The Nanny Hunt... Again
Our amazing nanny is pregnant, and whilst I am really pleased for her, it leaves me with a gap…
Nannies can be a good option for dual-career couples. Having a nanny at your home with a more flexible finish time than other options like nurseries, after-school clubs, etc. can take the stress out of the end of day commute and inevitable train cancellations, bad traffic, or a meeting that runs over.
When you do eventually finish after a long day at work, you might find that all the homework is done, children have been fed and if you’re lucky they might even be bathed and ready for bed!
However, finding the right nanny for your family is not easy. It is important you find someone who shares your values and can adapt to your family’s way of life and ultimately the most important thing is finding someone you can trust. You are entrusting this person with your children’s safety and well-being so there is a lot at stake if you get it wrong.
My first (and worst) nanny experience was an extreme situation, but sadly it can happen sometimes, and it did happen to us. It was a few months after this nanny had started when a mum at my daughter’s nursery raised a concern and then a neighbour came around to tell us they’d witnessed the nanny being physically abusive towards our son - he was 17 months old at the time. We sacked her on the spot.
I was completely devastated and wracked with the worst guilt I’d ever known. I was shaken so much that I couldn’t face leaving the children with anyone, other than immediate family. Despite being very career driven, I left my job to look after the children full time.
After almost a year, my drive to get back to my career became stronger than my fear so we took the plunge to search for another nanny. We were ultra-cautious. Eventually we found an amazing nanny who stayed with us for four years, all through the COVID lockdowns and restored my faith again. When you find a good nanny, it really does make juggling family life and work a whole lot easier, so I still think it is worth it.
Here are some tips:
- Don’t rush a hiring decision, even if your timescales are tight, it’s better to be without childcare for a short period.
- Using a reputable agency is a good option.
- Hold multiple interviews and watch them interact with your kids, find out about their values and personality.
- Speak to their referees personally and ask lots of questions.
- Ultimately, trust your instincts- if something doesn’t feel right, it's better to look for someone else.
Katie has worked in Human Resources for twenty years and having always had a passion for psychology, is currently taking a year out to study Occupational and Business Psychology. She lives in Surrey with her husband, two children and dog.